Bay of Plenty women are being urged to use September Cervical Screening Awareness Month as a reminder to have a three-yearly cervical smear test.
Bay of Plenty regional coordinator Anneliese Luthard said investing in regular cervical smears could cut the cervical-cancer risk by 90 per cent.
''The cell changes to the cervix that can lead to cervical cancer are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV infection is very common.''
Some women may now be offered an HPV test with their cervical smear. The test helped identify women who may need follow-up with a specialist.
Women who are not sure when their smear is due, or who want to become part of the National Cervical Screening Programme can ring the freephone number 0800 729 729 or visit the website www.cervicalscreening.govt.nz.